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Happy Sunday Bread Heads!

Sorry about not being around last week, there was a death in my family. A quick trip to Michigan meant that I did not have time to bake anything nor post. But the good news is that this week no such occurrence happened so we have bread!

This week we’ll make an easy and very tasty rye bread variation, Sauerkraut Rye. Many rye breads require a starting sour to boost the rye flavor. This recipe does not go that route. Instead it adds sauerkraut to the mix. It replaces the need for a rye sourer and really cuts down on the time needed to turn out a world class rye. It is not as assertive as some rye’s but it has a medium crumb with a complex taste that develops as you chew. This is one bread that really shines as toast as well.

But enough talk, let’s bake!

Sauerkraut Rye

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour
2 cups rye flour
2 packages (4 ½ teaspoons) yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger (this would be the “secret” ingredient)
1 ¼ cups hot (120 to 130 degrees) water
½ cup milk (2% or above on fat content please, no non-fat milk!)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of sauerkraut

Baking Pans:
2 8”x 4” loaf pans

Method:

In your large mixing bowl, or the work bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1 cup of the bread flour, ¼ cup of the rye flour, the yeast, sugar, caraway seeds, salt and ginger. Add the hot water, milk and vegetable oil. With a wooden spoon or the flat paddle attachment of your stand mixer, mix for three minutes. This will give you a nice thin batter.

Add the sauerkraut. Do not drain it before adding! We want all those juices. If you like you can even add a couple of tablespoons of the juice to give the bread an extra kick. Mix until the sauerkraut has been absorbed in the developing dough.

Add the rest of the rye flour in ¼ cup increments, mixing until completely absorbed before adding the next ¼ cup. Add the rest of the bread flour ½ cup at a time. What we are looking for is a fairly stiff dough that will clean the sides of the bowl.
If you are doing this by hand, turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface to knead. This is a rye bread so there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you only have to knead it for five minutes because of the high gluten content in rye. The bad news is that rye flour always makes for a sticky dough. Resist the urge to add a ton of flour to counter this. If you do that you’ll bake a couple of bricks and no one wants to eat masonry!

Dust your hands with flour and knead for five minutes with a strong push-turn-fold method.

If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at low speed for five minutes. Keep an eye on the dough as it might need a couple of sprinkles of flour if moister breaks through. You are looking for a dough that revolves around the dough hook, not one that mostly sticks to the bottom of the work bowl. Again, don’t overload the dough with flour.

One of the other time savers in this recipe is that this dough only rises once and it does so in the pans. When your dough is kneaded divide it into two equal (roughly) portions. Form them into balls (you will probably need to dust your hands with flour again).

Flatten one of the balls into an oval just longer than your baking pan. Fold it over the middle and pinch the edges together tightly. Place it in your pan, seam side down, and tuck the end under. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Cover the pans with wax paper and set aside to rise for 40 minutes or until the loaves have doubled in volume.

20 minutes before baking, set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees. When the oven is hot, slip the loaf pans in and bake for 35 minutes.

The top crust should be a nice medium brown and your kitchen will smell of fresh bread and faintly of sauerkraut when they are done. Test doneness by turning one of the loaves out and thumping the bottom of the loaf with a finger. You should have a nice hard crust and a hollow sound. If you don’t get that, put the bread back in the pan and bake for another five minutes.

When the bread is done, remove it form the oven and turn it out of the pans onto a wire rack to cool.

This is a great bread to serve with just about any kind of pork dish, but I especially like it for Barbeque.

So there you have it bread heads, a quick and flavorful rye that is super easy. What more could you possibly want?

The flour is yours!

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